Hermeticism: Alchemy and Theurgy- My initial research

Lately I have been looking in to alchemy. I thought it was some weirdo ancient thing about turning lead and other metals into gold. It sounded just plain silly from pre-science. Now I see that although this was indeed part of the practise, the chemical processes represented human evolution towards God. Alchemy is really the secret tradition of the redemption of Spirit from matter. It is the striving to turn the lead of an ordinary and undeveloped consciousness into the gold of a fully enlightened and realised soul.

From Wikipedia: The various stages of chemical reactions are aspects of these mysteries that, when applied, quicken nature’s processes in order to bring a natural body to perfection. This perfection is the movement from the Prima Materia to the accomplishment of the magnum opus (Latin for “Great Work”).

Alchemy (with Astrology) is the (one of two) oldest science in the world.  The word itself comes from “Khemet” which was the Arabian word for Egypt meaning ‘the black land’. Al-Khemet means “from the black land’. It was a magical arts which described the purification process (hidden in chemical metaphors) of the human.The ultimate goal of the Alchemist is to transform the chaotic primordial First Matter (the Khem) into perfection; a goal that is accomplished through spiritual enlightenment.The 7 steps of both physical and spiritual alchemy are:

1. Calcination
2. Dissolution
3. Separation
4. Conjunction
5. Fermentation
6. Distillation
7. Coagulation

detail: seven steps

Alchemy is based on a philosophy called hermeticism developed in the 1st and 2nd Century by Greeks and Jews (the Kabala).

Hermeticism is a religious, philosophical, and esoteric tradition based primarily upon writings attributed to Hermes Trismegistus..also known as Thoth in Egypt and Enoch who knew the three parts of the wisdom of the whole universe: Alchemy, Astrology and Theurgy (divine magic reliant upon an alliance with divine spirits (i.e., angels, archangels, gods). Alchemy is seen as the “key” to theurgy, the ultimate goal of which is to become united with higher counterparts, leading to the attainment of Divine Consciousness. 

Regarding theurgy, Iamblichus’ analysis was that the transcendent cannot be grasped with mental contemplation because the transcendent is supra-rational. Theurgy is a series of rituals and operations aimed at recovering the transcendent essence by retracing the divine ‘signatures’ through the layers of being.[7] Education is important for comprehending the scheme of things as presented by Aristotle, Plato and Pythagoras but also by the Chaldaean Oracles.[8] The theurgist works ‘like with like’: at the material level, with physical symbols; at the higher level, with mental and purely spiritual practices.

Nature – Soul -Universal Consciousness – God. Starting with correspondences of the divine in matter, the theurgist eventually reaches the level where the soul’s inner divinity unites with The Divine.[9]

The Hermetic philosophers rejected Christianity and stated:

  • The Law of Correspondence tells us that our outer world is nothing more than a reflection of our inner world – as within, so without. This really says that our current reality is a mirror of what is going on inside us.
  • As above, so below. (The Magician in the tarot)
  • Humans are divine beings (Man is God’s brother). You come from light and you will return to it.
  • Fate can be overcome. (beyond astrology in Greek times) through magic! Astrology can become a power to be used. We give up our power by submitting to the idea of inevitability.

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